Biblical Interpretation Then and Now examines the use of the Bible in the early church and relates apostolic and patristic interpretation to contemporary trends in hermeneutics. Dockery traces the developments in early Christian interpretation, noting both continuities and discontinuities. His study begins with Jesus, and observes the developments in interpretation to the time of the historic Council of Chalcedon, noting the philosophy, theology, and traditions which influenced each period.
“The seedbed of allegory is found in the primitive philosophers’ practice of expressing philosophical ideas with mythological imagery.” (Page 76)
“The issue at stake is the important distinction between allegory and the allegorical method of interpretation. Allegory is a continuous metaphor which already includes in itself the intention of having more than one point. Allegorical interpretation, on the other hand, is an attempt to find a hidden meaning quite different from the intended or historical one.” (Page 40)
“‘The gospel story as a whole differs so markedly from current (i.e., first-century) interpretation of the Old Testament that it is impossible to believe that it originated simply in meditations of prophecy; it originated in the career of Jesus of Nazareth.” (Page 26)
“The title apostolic fathers functions as a designation of a group of church leaders and their writings between a.d. 90 and 150.” (Page 48)
“ also inherited various methods of interpretation and interpretations themselves.” (Page 23)
Provides readers with a generally able and well documented survey of patristic biblical interpretation and a significant discussion of the potential importance of earlier patterns of interpretation to contemporary hermeneutical discussion.
—Richard A. Muller, Calvin Theological Journal
Those seeking a general introduction to patristic hermeneutics will be grateful once again for this book's availability.
—Amos Yong, Religious Studies Review
A useful survey for beginning students: the writing is clear, the overall appraisal of the period follows generally accepted lines, and the attention to contemporary concerns can help the reader approach the topic with a valuable perspective.
—Moisés Silva, Westminster Theological Journal
A well-documented, readable, and welcome addition to one's theological library.
—Roy B. Zuck and Joe Walters, Bibliotheca Sacra